Highlighting one of our own on international women’s day

 

I started off kickboxing training when I was 15 years of age, I am now 21. I always had an interest in sports and grew up as a bit of a “tom boy”. I loved trying new things and being active. I started kickboxing when I was 15 years old with a friend and my twin sister back in 2013. Within a couple of training sessions I fell in love with the sport and a few weeks later I had my first fight. Don’t get me wrong, my first night of training I didn’t know what I was doing and had never put on a pair of gloves or hit a bag before but it just felt right.

Growing up wasn’t always easy for me; I got bullied as a child and had no confidence at all. I never believed in myself which played a part when it came to the start of my fighting career, but the more I trained and sparred different people the more confident I became. As I started to get big fight offers I had to start training more regularly and it started to get a lot harder, cutting out my social life and spending days and hours in the gym and out on the roads running while my friends are out having fun. When I have big fights coming up I train twice a day 6 days a week, cut weight weeks on end.

In 2014 I was selected to travel to Italy to compete in the Unified World Championships with 5 of my team mates who were all at a higher level than me at the time. I was only kickboxing 6 months at that stage so it was a massive deal for me to get selected. I ended up having two fights – my first fight was against a very experienced girl from England and my second was against a Chinese girl. I came third in the -50kg junior kickboxing category, taking home a World Bronze Medal. In 2017 I travelled to Greece again to another World Championships where I had two fights and ended up coming second and took home a World Silver medal. A month later I travelled to Dublin to take part in the WOMMA World championships where I came second again and took home my second World Silver medal in the space of month. I was also a 3-time Junior All-Ireland National champion, winning titles in 2013, 2014 and 2015.  In September 2018 I became a Senior Straw-weight All-Ireland full contact champion.

Like all sports I have had quite a few losses against good opponents and sometimes it’s hard to keep believing in yourself when decisions don’t go your way or you feel you’ve done enough to win after weeks of hard work, but personally I learn a lot more from losing than I ever do from winning.

On the 23rd of February last I was part of a main event as I fought a French girl in an Ireland vs France match-up. It was a big opportunity for me to be picked to represent Ireland. Coming up to the fight was tough as I had to cut weight and train very hard.  The fight went my way and I got a solid win against a good French opponent, and to top it off Ireland won the team event 4-1.

It can be hard at times to stay focused when I am still young and of course I would like to be out with my friends and having fun, but to me fighting is a lot more rewarding and challenging and winning is always a bonus. When you have a good team behind you and you work hard at something, anything is possible, but giving up is never an option if you love what you’re doing.

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